Femme Fatale: the #Geekafest edition of @GeekFestDubai

It’s been a long time coming.

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I knew since May I think, or perhaps June, that I was going to speak at the next GeekFest. The un-organizer Alexander McNabb had said then, that the next instalment of the event would be dedicated to female speakers at the GeekTalks.

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At that time, I only had #manzilbooks to talk about. For that reason, I am so glad it was moved to September, because now I had more to say.

But HEY…this GeekFest (also termed Geekafest) was going to be held, for the first time, at the new location of The Shelter in the Al Serkal Avenue in Al Quoz, Dubai.

Before I could venture there, intrepid photographer Shruti and myself headed over in our cadmium pigmented cars to the old Shelter on Street 318b. Honestly, it felt like a scene out of a horror movie: two women with cameras and flash lights go into bushy, grassy, tree-filled area with overgrown weeds and no clear path in sight. Yeah. That.

However, this abandoned area of grassy horrordom was only a small patch, and we had people from the next warehouse stare at us curiously as we set up a tripod (when I say we, I mean her; I just walked about, muttering to myself), a camera, a flash and all that sort of photographic thing she does.

Once we’d finished our mysterious business there, we headed to the new Shelter!

It looks like a barn within a gallery – that was my first thought. Shruti and I harrassed people to stand in front of her snazzy camera and answer a couple of questions, while I fretted about forgetting things I knew I wanted to mention in my talk.

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Watching the GeekTalks, including myself, @AmazingSusan, @AidaAlB and @NaylaAlKhaja

I hurried over when it was my turn, fired up Prezi (If interested, you can view my presentation here.) and started talking about autism and the projects I’m working on to raise awareness on it in the UAE. I think I stayed in my 15 minutes time limit, as I did not have Rupert Bumfrey let loose hell’s hounds on me, so I’d count that as a plus!

It was a night of friends and … photobombing. Check these out (I’m not sure why Zooberry is in most of them):

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That’s @PKGulati in full business mode:
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Resident photographer and videographer for the night, Shruti:

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There’s a top floor too! With a meeting room and a common seating area…it’s awesome!
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GamesFest was happening upstairs…check out @asatiir doing his Xbox thing (as for me, I can only imagine him going: “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”):

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Surprise of the night: Hisham dressed like everyone else. Okay well … maybe not with those torn jeans.
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Anastasia about to punch anyone who mentions chick flicks to her:

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There’s a fake men’s moment with an iPhone here:

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Thanks for coming everyone! Check out the remaining pics here (there are about 60-odd of them!). I took the GeekaFest talks poster and have stuck it up in my room to remind me of the night. Thanks @GeekFestDubai and Alexander for letting me speak 🙂
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Also, a selection of tweets from the night:

View “GeekaFest Dubai” on Storify

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Reading Space Design – Kosha by Claudio D’amore | Trendir

I WANT THIS!!!

Reading Space Design – Kosha by Claudio D’amorechair-kosha-claudio-damore-1.jpg

It was with great passion that Claudio D’amore created the Kosha chair we see here. With this chair, design and wellbeing are strongly connected. Essentially, Kosha is not jus a chair, but a space. More specifically, a reading space. Its precise ergonomic design allows for a seated retreat among your favorite literature. It’s almost like stepping into a special wooden vessel that promises ‘me time’ filled with relaxation and entertainment. This piece is waiting to be placed by a huge window in an open space, in a contemporary study or even in a garden. It is also waiting for its designated spots to be filled with books and for a lucky person to have a seat. If you can imagne yourself as that person, check out Kosha in more detail.

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Top 100 sci-fi icons of the 21st century? Yeah I’m buying that.

It was slightly over a month ago when my Nathan Fillion-nut friend @TDAllonsy tweeted this to me:

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And when I clicked on that truly shiny link, I reached here. After eagerly reading the witty interview with Nathan Fillion, lo and behold! There was a link to buy an SFX special! The Top 100 Sci-Fi Icons of the 21st Century. Oh my. Should I buy it? Should I sent it to my friend in London, then get it whenever she comes to Dubai next?

Nah, I couldn’t wait.

A few days back, there was mail for me. I’d all but forgotten I’d bought the magazine. Then when I opened the package, I squealed. It was here!

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Should I wait for a few da— nah, I’m reading it now.

Starting from 100, it’s hauntingly familiar, for which I’m glad. No sci-fi geek wants to pick up a magazine that claims to list the top 100 sci-fi icons and find s/he can’t recognize anyone! NOT A SCI-FI GEEK NOW, ARE YOU?!

Luckily, I’m still one. I start with this:

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100 – Scorpius from Farscape. Then I see 98 – Annie from Being Human. Then Baby Doll from Sucker Punch. Memories flood though me. How I discovered Farscape. How I started watching Being Human when I lived in UK, holed up in my flat, loving the idea of ghosts, werewolves and vampires. How I won tickets to see Sucker Punch in Dubai and thinking that movie would make an awesome game. Sci-fi memories. Personal memories. Even painful ones really.

I carry on. Through the nineties I see superheroes, aliens, vampires. Moving to the eighties, there’s a powerful wizard, Gollum, people from Torchwood and Doctor Who (a recent discovery of mine), and so on. I trawl through the list, eagerly lapping up characters I know and love, and marking down TV series or movies I need to watch when I don’t recognize someone.

Then, this took me back to when I was a kid.

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I loved watching Hercules (Kevin Sorbo) and Xena (Lucy Lawless) on Dubai’s Channel 33. Xena was probably the first time I realized concepts such as lesbianism existed. Even though the censor board here chopped anything inappropriate, innuendo stays on, doesn’t it? The series shows it’s okay to be gay. Even Xena’s doing it.

I move on. I see characters from Buffy! Angel! Supernatural! Star Trek! Harry Potter! Star Wars! LOTR! Misfits! Firefly! So, so much more!

And then the finalĂ©! The wonderful end… Nathan Fillion. He beat the Doctor! And after watching Doctor Who, let me tell you, the Doctor is hard to beat. There’s also an interview with Fillion, different to the one linked above.

There was also this double-sided poster in the magazine:

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…of which currently, I can see the cast, smiling at me from above my desk in my room.

I finished reading, completely satisfied. Well…almost.

In the magazine, you get to see so many advertisements for sci-fi events happening in the UK. I feel a stab of pain knowing I was unable to hit some of those during my stay there.

I know the Middle East Film and Comic Con is coming up sometime this year – don’t ask me when! The organizers have hidden this secret better than Voldemort’s hidden Horcruxes. Anyway, I know the event is happening soon, and while I couldn’t be more excited, I seriously wish for more event organizers to realize, and tap into, the immense sci-fi market in this region.

I’ve even managed to convince a group of friends to come costume shopping. Yep, we’re cosplaying for the show. I’m planning to be Princess Leia (and since I’ve been getting the ridiculous follow-up question every time I say this…I’ll answer it first: No, not the gold bikini version from Return of the Jedi; it’s going to be the white dress from A New Hope) and I’ve got a few elves and Jayne Cobb for company. Might even get an Inara if the potential cosplayer gets her head around being a space-age “companion”.

So if I haven’t spelled it out enough: we’re a sci-fi mad market. We’re here. We’re hungry for more. So…how about you give it to us?

#DxbTweepSpeak 1: @movie_mafia

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Twitter handle:
@movie_mafia

What does your bio say?
“My ideas and ideals are not ideas and ideals I’m supposed to hold as a girl from a certain part of the world. This might offend you. Oh, snap!”

Why is your Twitter handle @movie_mafia?
Well, originally it was ‘movie mania’. It was actually @eddydubai who recommended I go with the word mafia instead, since I was really into the mafia genre of movies.

What’s your favourite movie then?
The Big Lebowski.

Why are you anonymous?
This way I have more freedom in tweets. Since nobody knows me, they don’t know whom I am talking about; I can even talk about my personal opinions without people attributing it to me. I want to keep my Twitter life separate from my real life because I have a completely different persona in real life. A lot of us behave differently with different people, so Twitter is where I can really be myself without falling into the personality people think that I should have.

What’s your favourite animal?
I’m a huge animal person…I guess it would be…can I say big cat?

Favourite colour?
Red.

Favourite Disney movie?
The Lion King. I know most of the lines verbatim!

What phone do you have? 
BlackBerry Bold.

If you had to choose an alternative career…?
I used to want to be a director when I was younger but I never pursued that. I would rather watch movies than make them!

Are you a girly girl?
Not at all. I’m not like those girls who act ditzy. I’m not exactly serious, but I’m more grounded than the ditzy ones. I don’t like talking about make-up, shopping and shoes all the time – I like to talk about other things.

Have you met any tweeps off Twitter?
Just two!

What’s your dream car?
I would really like to drive a BMW…a Z4.

So I’ve heard you’re getting married soon?
Hahahahaha no! I’m not getting married in the near future… that’s a rumour I must take care of. It’s definitely not true.

 

Who’s next in #DxbTweepSpeak? A Dubai-based ace photographer. Keep an eye out…